In 1930's America, a small group of east coast scientists shared a common passion for the study and exploration of caves. At a time when the subterranean world was viewed through a lens of mystery and folklore, these pioneers of speleology developed the early techniques for underground research. Two years and a few hundred members later, the Speleological Society of Washington DC recognized a growing demand for a parent organization. Through their efforts, the National Speleological Society was legally incorporated as a non-profit organization on January 1, 1941.
Seventy-five years, and nearly 70,000 members later, the NSS has evolved into the largest organization in the world dedicated to the exploration, study, and preservation of caves. We're an affiliate member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and our research frequently graces the pages of science journals, mass media and National Geographic magazine. NSS members are regular collaborators with the US Geological Society, National Park Service, US Forest Service, US Fish & Wildlife and countless municipal agencies and private cave owners. We've provided research and testimony for the United States Congress and even assisted NASA in predicting cave environments on Mars.
In July of 2016, the NSS will celebrate its 75th anniversary at our annual convention in the historic western town of Ely, Nevada.
Azurite is a soft, deep blue copper mineral produced by weathering of copper ore deposits. The mineral, a carbonate, has been known since ancient times, and was mentioned in Pliny the Elder's Natural History under the Greek name kuanos. While not a major ore of copper itself, the presence of azurite is a good surface indicator of the presence of weathered copper sulfide ores. It is usually found in association with the chemically very similar malachite, producing a striking color combination of deep blue and bright green.
The intense color of azurite makes it a popular collector's stone. However, bright light, heat, and open air all tend to reduce the intensity of its color over time.